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Old 01-16-2014, 12:14 PM   #1
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location of fuel line vacuum guage

A fuel line vacuum gauge sounds like a pretty cool tool. But, the pictures I have seen on-line show it in the engine room, rather than the steering station. Is it not practical to locate the gauge far away from the fuel line, or is it like the oil level where a once-a-day check really tells you all you need to know?
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:25 PM   #2
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A fuel line vacuum gauge sounds like a pretty cool tool. But, the pictures I have seen on-line show it in the engine room, rather than the steering station. Is it not practical to locate the gauge far away from the fuel line, or is it like the oil level where a once-a-day check really tells you all you need to know?
absolutely...there are kits to put the gauge at the helm...

but for low flow engines on trawlers...most vacuum gauges with a telltale is good enough.
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:15 PM   #3
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Racor filter top gauge

It probably is more of a maintianance aid than one needed to monitor from the helm. Passage making should include engine room checks on a regular interval. That's a good time to check fuel filter condition. The gauges mounted on your filter housing with a telltale are very practical and simple. During these engine checks it's a good idea to poke around with a hand held spot infrared temperature gauge, checking stuffing box, transmission, alternator, water pump, oil coolers and exhaust manifold temps. All of these of these provide early warning of possible failure.
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:45 PM   #4
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During these engine checks it's a good idea to poke around with a hand held spot infrared temperature gauge, checking stuffing box, transmission, alternator, water pump, oil coolers and exhaust manifold temps. All of these of these provide early warning of possible failure.
An infrared temperature gauge? I have never heard of such a thing. Does everyone but me have one of these cool toys?
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:35 PM   #5
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sorta.....

keep reading...new uses all the time...
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:36 PM   #6
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I have vacuum gauges @ the lower helm. I am quite sure they saved me several "boat bucks" recently.

We made a gulf crossing from Clearwater , Fl to Destin. 280 miles, 22 hours. My first crossing, 4 to 6 ft swells. All went well but as the night wore on the vacuum gauges started climbing. I changed filters just before we entered the Destin inlet, as the gauges had climbed to 24" of vac. Got fuel in Destin and continued west down the ICW, but vacuum was still high.

Turns out the fuel tanks had screens in the 90 degree fittings and the motion from the crossing stirred up the gunk in the tanks & they were plugged up. Symptoms at that point were would not develop full rpms.

Without knowing that vac. was high & having clean filters, I would have chased all kinds of engine issues(i.e. boat bucks).

I was able to solve the problem in 15 minutes w/ no cost. Gauges have been @ 0 ever since.

Very valuable tool, for me.

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Old 01-16-2014, 05:55 PM   #7
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I have vacuum gauges @ the lower helm. I am quite sure they saved me several "boat bucks" recently.
Interesting story. An earlier post mentioned that "for low flow engines on trawlers...most vacuum gauges with a telltale is good enough". Is it fair to say that your cat burns fuel more quickly, and that is why you have the gauge in the cockpit instead of the engine room?
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:42 PM   #8
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Interesting story. An earlier post mentioned that "for low flow engines on trawlers...most vacuum gauges with a telltale is good enough". Is it fair to say that your cat burns fuel more quickly, and that is why you have the gauge in the cockpit instead of the engine room?
some just prefer one over the other...on many of the commercial boats that I run, the gauges are at the helm for 2 reasons that I can guess, much more fuel used per hr and the filters clog much faster, and fuel is always suspect and there's no one else aboard for long shifts so engine room checks are rarely done and remote sensing is depended on more heavily.
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:56 PM   #9
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The gauges were in the boat when I bought it, thanks to the previous owner for that. As far as rate of fuel usage, we are pretty low. Approx 2 gal per hr @average cruise of 12-13 mph(per engine).

The vacuum measures a restriction so the gph in a properly sized line would not have much effect on the reading. In other words it would work equally well with a 2 gph or a 50 gph engine.

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Old 01-17-2014, 05:41 AM   #10
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Yes SeattleBoatGuy, you must be the only passage-making trawler owner who hasn't heard about, much less owns, an infrared digital thermometer. Go get one & benefit from an inexpensive and very useful monitoring and diagnostic tool
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:05 AM   #11
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Some folks will install a set of gauges across the filter bank, to see how plugged up the are .

Look at the Murphy Gauge offerings , and use an alarm style unit if you prefer looking at the marine scenery than scanning the gauges.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:51 PM   #12
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I have two primary filters for each engine prior to the on engine secondary filter. One of the primaries is a Racor with the vacuum gauge on top. The next filter is a Fleetguard FS 1000 with a vacuum gauge plumbed in just downstream. So I have 4 vacuum gauges which I have located pretty close together that are monitored by a camera. The camera is attached to my Raymarine Chart-plotter / MFD. A quick press of 2 buttons on my chart-plotter and I can see all 4 vacuum gauges without cluttering up the instrument panel with individual gauges or complex wiring to the helm.

Don't have to ask the admiral to take the helm while I check the vacuum gauges any more, very cool.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:50 PM   #13
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An infrared temperature gauge? I have never heard of such a thing. Does everyone but me have one of these cool toys?
Probably so. Harbor Freight even sells them. $30 or so.
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